Typically, separatists are in a hurry and proclaim their "independence" during the separatist war or immediately after it ends. But with the separatist Abkhazia, we recall, it turned out differently.
October 12 marks the 20th anniversary of the official declaration of the so-called "independence" of Abkhazia, which took place only in 1999, while the separatists seized most of the territory of Abkhazia 6 years earlier, in 1993.
As early as 1994, the separatist “parliament” voted in favor of the so-called “constitution” providing for “independence”. But the approval of this decision by “referendum” took place only on October 3, 1999, and on October 12, 1999, the separatists proclaimed their “independence”.
It turns out the separatist regime "dreamed of independence" was 6 years in a "limbo." And in principle, up to this point, negotiations were held on the confederal or autonomous status of Abkhazia as part of Georgia. However, in October 1999 all these negotiations ceased. Until this time, refugees were returned only to the Gali district, the separatists did not even want to hear about the return to Sukhumi and other areas (which were under negotiation until the fall of 1999). As well as about any kind of union with Georgia into one state. Like, we are "independent" and that’s it.
Such a change in the behavior of the separatists seems obscure, if you do not take into account two factors from the same 1999.
1. In Russia, which initially "oversaw" the Abkhazian separatist project, Vladimir Putin, a native of the KGB-FSB, came to power as prime minister.
2. And most important, only 2 weeks after the declaration of "independence" of Abkhazia, an act of terrorism took place in the Parliament of Armenia. As a result, the speaker, former first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia Karen Demirchyan, and Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan, who, in principle, were already inclined to begin de-occupation of Karabakh and a peaceful settlement with Azerbaijan, were shot point blank.
The so-called “Karabakh clan” came to power, led by Robert Kocharyan, who did everything to “fix” the occupation of Azerbaijani territories and ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijani population.
And the exact same strategy was adopted by the separatist regime in Sukhumi, an integral part of which were also Armenian nationalists (who seized Georgian houses and apartments in 1992-1993 and were categorically against the return of refugees).
Certain influential forces in the South Caucasus in the fall of 1999, taking advantage of the change of power in Russia, which they most likely also influenced in a certain way, took a decisive course towards redrawing borders, supporting separatism, ethnic cleansing and “freezing” the issue of refugee return. All constructive attempts at a peaceful settlement and de-occupation were "cut down in the bud." And it is easy to guess who was primarily interested in this - the Armenian nationalists.
Given that the influence of the Armenian lobby on Russian politics in the 90s, in other matters, as now, was enormous. It is possible that in 1999 this lobby gave its “good” (not decisive, but still) to the coming of power to Putin in exchange for “their interests” in the Caucasus. Namely, the “fixation” of the purges of Abkhazia from Georgians and Karabakh from Azerbaijanis in Armenian interests.
While Vladimir Putin was gaining popularity in the Russian Federation by his decisive struggle against Chechen separatism, the so-called “presidential elections” and the so-called “independence referendum” were held in Abkhazia on October 3, 1999. Naturally, without any participation of refugees. There was only one presidential candidate - Vladislav Ardzinba, and he scored 98% of the vote. And approximately 97.7% eventually voted for "independence."
It is clear that the results of both the “election” and the “referendum” in the conditions of the expulsion of most of the population of Abkhazia did not have any legitimacy.
At that time, in fact, a coup d'etat was being prepared in Armenia through a terrorist attack. Without this, the “Karabakh clan” could not take full power in the country. Moreover, the war and the blockade have already begun to bother the Armenians. That is why their hopes were connected with the "Soviet" leader Karen Demirchyan, who knew how to find a common language with Azerbaijan.
But most likely both Karen Demirchyan and Vagen Sargsyan were already doomed. Armenian nationalists did not need peace in the Caucasus. And the attack on October 27, 1999 in the Armenian parliament became the “final chord” for a long time “burying” the peace process.
20 years have passed. During this time, Armenia, which was already "beyond the power" of exorbitant military spending, degraded and deserted, the Abkhaz ethnic group degraded. Refugees cannot return to their homes. And again, the same forces that torpedoed the peace processes 20 years ago continue to do everything to hinder the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the South Caucasus.